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Paddy McCann

Vessel Number: HV000271
Date: 1888
Vessel Dimensions: 10.67 m x 2.7 m x 1 m (35 ft x 8.86 ft x 3.28 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
PADDY McCANN was launched as a 30 ft (9.375 m) pilot launch and workboat built in 1888, probably at Williamstown Naval Dockyard in Victoria. Owned and operated by the Victorian Public Works Department for more than a century PADDY McCANN was used continuously in three different Victorian ports until its retirement in 2001; Port Albert, Port Phillip and Lakes Entrance in Gippsland.
DescriptionPADDY McCANN, affectionately known as 'The Paddy', began its 113 year working life as a pilot launch in 1888. Believed to have been built at the Williamstown Dockyard, Victoria, it was equipped with a small compound steam engine. Its initial role was to look after navigation lights and shipping channel markers in Victoria's main coastal harbour Port Albert. PADDY McCANN was named after a Victorian Government Public Works Department waterways engineer who had worked at Portland and Geelong in the 1860s.

In 1905 the boat was transferred north to Lakes Entrance, which had been opened to the sea in 1889. As the first Public Works Department pilot launch working on the waterway PADDY McCANN serviced navigation aids and took soundings to survey the harbour entrance. A special berthing facility was built onshore for maintaining PADDY McCANN including a storage tank and plumbing to provide fresh water for the boiler.

In 1915 the boat was moved to Port Phillip in Melbourne having been replaced at Lakes Entrance by a new pilot launch TAMBO. PADDY McCANN then became a general purpose workboat for the Public Works Department and its compound steam engine was replaced with a Scottish built Ailsa Craig 27 kW (35 hp) four cylinder petrol engine. A new counter stern was added replacing the original square transom, lengthening the boat to 35 foot (10.6 m) overall.

PADDY McCANN was brought back to Lakes Entrance in 1925 by Wally Schulz, the Harbour Engineer, for towing heavy stone barges as part of the reconstruction of the main channel breakwaters. The vessel's shallow draft enabled it to work from Colquhoun where the granite stone for the breakwater was being quarried. Before starting work at Lakes Entrance PADDY McCANN was reconditioned at the PWD slipway in Paynesville and renamed McMILLAN, after the founding explorer of Gippsland, Angus McMillan. Until 1926 the boat had an open configuration. Paynesville Slip then added a kauri cabin over the forward section and in 1937 this was further extended to provide shelter at the wheel.

PADDY McCANN continued towing work at Lakes Entrance until 1964 when the PWD offices were demolished and the boat was relocated to the nearby Paynesville Slip/Bullock Island Depot. It became a general workboat until sold at auction in 2001 after a working life of 113 years.

PADDY McCANN's history has been extensively researched by Reg Schulz, a relative of the Gippsland Harbour Engineer, Wally Shulz who returned the boat to Lakes Entrance in 1925.

Paynesville Slipway again rebuilt and restored the craft replacing some parts of the hull structure and cabin with new material but retaining a configuration similar to the appearance in 1937. A new 3 cylinder Gardner diesel was installed, and it was renamed PADDY McCANN again. In 2008 it remained in use as a private launch, the oldest boat at Lakes Entrance.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Current status:operational
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
Current status:other
Additional Titles

Primary title: Paddy McCann

Previous title: McMillan

Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: ME 02

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